RESEARCHERS HAVE found the ‘superbug’ MRSA in pork sausages and mince sourced from British supermarkets.
Researchers stress the finding does not pose a ‘significant, immediate risk to the public’ as the bacteria should be killed by ‘adequate cooking and good food hygiene’.
The researchers from the University of Cambridge, and funded by the Medical Research Council, tested 103 products – 53 pork and 52 chicken, and MRSA was found in two of the samples.
Analysis of the bacteria’s genes confirmed the presence of antibiotic resistant genes, demonstrating that antibiotic resistance is a problem in animals as well as humans.
The bacteria belonged to a type of MRSA known as LA-MRSA CC398. The bacteria has emerged in continental Europe in pigs and poultry in the last few years, but was not previously believed to be widely distributed in the UK.
The researchers argue that the discovery of MRSA in pork identifies a potential way that the bacteria can spread from farms to the wider population.
Dr Mark Holmes from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge says: ‘This is the first time that MRSA has been detected in retail meat products in the UK. The public should not be overly worried by this as sensible food precautions and good hygiene should prevent its spread. It’s also usually pretty harmless and only causes health problems if it infects someone in poor health or gets into a wound.’